What is the most rewarding part of our work? Client Success Stories!
Our hard-working clients are extraordinary–even in the face or crisis and uncertainty, they remain dedicated and focused on their self-sufficiency goals. SELF helps along the way with one-on-one guidance, proven programs, wrap-around support services and breaking goals down into more manageable steps.
IDA (Individual Development Account) Program Success: Meet Yajaira
This is something I’d dreamed about for years… Without the IDA program, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Yajaira is a determined and hard-working single mother who enrolled in SELF’s IDA program in the fall of 2012 with the goal of becoming a first-time home buyer. She wanted to buy a home for her mother and two children so that they would have privacy & space—something they desperately lacked in their very small apartment. Yajaira listened intently at the IDA financial literacy classes and learned about budgeting, couponing and how to repair credit. She enrolled in additional budgeting classes at LifeSpan Smart Money and completed first time homebuyer classes with a credit review at Neighborhood Housing Services, which made her eligible for a grant equal to 6% of her home down payment. Yajaira saved $125 each month in her IDA account and in just 8 months, she saved $1,000 for her down payment. SELF was able to match the $1,000 with $4,000 due to special Federal and local funding. With over $12,000 leveraged from the NHS grant and IDA funds, Yajarira was ready to purchase her dream home. On February 6, 2014 Yajaira moved into her new home in Trenton. She is excited that her children will have their own bedrooms and a yard to play in!
JOBS NOW! Program Success: Meet Dustin
Not only has SELF helped me grow in the workforce, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support me in every way through a rough patch in my life. Now I am a better person and have so much more confidence thanks to the help of my job coach.
Dustin entered the JOBS NOW! program at Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF) in the spring of 2016, after being out of the workforce due to a struggle with alcoholism. Newly sober with help from Sojourner Recovery Services, he was determined to find good paying, full-time work.
Dustin attended the JOBS NOW! workshop where he listened intently and worked on improving his resume and he practices his mock interview skills working on how to answer tough questions. Dustin’s confidence grew and he was hired at Menards in a full-time position that would be benefits eligible. Dustin’s work ethic earned him praise from his supervisors and he was quickly promoted to assistant manager in the hardware department and given a raise of an additional $2 per hour.
Dustin received a technology grant from SELF after he completed all the requirements of the JOBS NOW! program and earned a laptop computer. With his new laptop, Dustin is pursuing additional on-line training and certifications from Menards so he can grow in his career and he is determined to pursue a management track there. The laptop is also being utilized by his fiancé who is pursuing a degree. Dustin’s next goal is to enroll in the Build-up Academy Program at SELF, which starts in September, to increase his knowledge and skills in the construction field.
Thanks to the support of the Butler County United Way, individuals in SELF’s JOBS NOW! program can learn the skills they need to get a job, keep a job and build assets for a more self-sufficient future!
Getting Ahead Program Success: Meet Toni
Toni entered SELF’s Getting Ahead program at the Booker T. Washington Center in August of 2015, after hopping from job to job and not having a plan for where she wanted to go in life. As a mother raising 2 boys, she was looking to make a change and find a path that could help her better support her family. Toni was raised on assistance growing up and did not know any other way of life. She never really had any follow through with anything that she started and for once in her life she wanted to complete something. Toni was ready to make a transformation and create a better situation for her and her family.
Toni graduated from the Getting Ahead program in December with resources, a support network, newly found confidence and a plan for prosperity. Toni is thankful for the communication skills that she received when taking the Getting Ahead Program, as well as, learning the ability to positively negotiate. All of the skills she learned helped her to start to build the confidence in herself to make her a top priority in her own life. With the help of SELF’s Dress for Success event, Toni was able to get a head to toe outfit for a job interview. Upon graduation, Toni has secured a full-time position at RJM Cosmetics & Perfumes. She is also looking to go back to school for business management and has already begun to repair her credit so she can achieve her dream of home ownership.
Even after completing the program, Toni still meets with her facilitator on a regular basis for support. Toni is a big advocate for the program and tells everyone how it has changed her way of thinking and approaching life. She is so thankful for the support that SELF has given her and her family.
Microenterprise and Microloan Program Success: Meet Melanie
When Melanie was unexpectedly laid-off from her job of more than 20 years in the transportation industry after a change in company ownership, she wondered if she could make the leap to owning her own business. Melanie loved what she did, especially working with the elderly and people with disabilities, so in the spring of 2013 she enrolled in the Butler County Microenterprise classes with the dream of starting her own transportation company. The free classes helped her learn all aspects of starting her own business: credit, financing, legal business entity options, market research and marketing, insurance and much more. Melanie received hands-on assistance with writing a business plan, and with input from advisors at SELF and the SBDC she began to mold her plan and bring Transport U Transportation Company to a reality! Melanie applied for and received a $3,500 microloan through SELF’s partner Neighborhood Housing Services in June of 2013, which she used to pay licensing fees and insurance. She was able to secure another loan that helped her purchase an 8-person, wheelchair-equipped van and two 6-person mini-vans for her fleet. Melanie launched the business with help from her 2 sons Jarrod and Justin, who worked very hard alongside her to ensure Transport-U was a success.
In just three years in business, Melanie has grown from 3 vans and a family run-operation to 18 vans and 16 employees. She provides transportation for SELF’s self-sufficiency clients who are looking to get bac to work and she even hired a participant in SELF’s JOBS NOW! employment program to drive for her full-time. She has also grown her income by 3xs what she was making, before she worked for herself! In June 2016 she celebrated another success; she paid off her $3,500 microloan in full!
Build-Up Academy Program Success: Meet Amanda
When Amanda signed up for Build-up Academy at SELF, she was determined to find a career path despite past choices and a criminal record that limited her employment.
Amanda juggled long days, working full-time for a temp agency and completing Build-up Academy construction classes in the evening from 6-9:30 p.m. She completed 100 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of hands-on service learning, where she gave back and volunteered in the community. Amanda earned her NCCER construction certification, an OSHA 10 card and a tool kit.
With new confidence in her ability to get a job and with help from SELF, Amanda started applying for jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors. In January, Amanda was offered a permanent, full-time position with benefits at an advanced manufacturing company that makes electric panels. Amanda is saving her paychecks and even working overtime so she can pay down bills and start saving for her future. She enrolled in college part-time this fall to study Electrical Engineering and has made straight “A”s.
With hard work and determination, Amanda was able to achieve her dreams.
Check back soon for more inspiring client success stories!